CNET Corruption "Smoking Gun" Video Shows Drug Deal

Video shows former commander of CNET selling what prosecutors say was meth to a government informant in exchange for cash.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Video shows former commander of CNET selling what prosecutors say was meth to a government informant in exchange for cash. (Published Thursday, Mar 22, 2012)

    It's been called the "smoking gun" in a high profile East Bay dirty cop case.

    NBC Bay Area has uncovered a video that shows private investigator Christopher Butler and the commander of the Contra Costa County's Narcotics Task Force Norman Wielsch taking part in an alleged drug deal.

    Lawyers have talked about the video in court documents, but this is the first time it has been seen publicly.

    The video shows Butler and Wielsch selling what appears to be methamphetamine to a government informant. The two men also count out $10,000 cash before going into another room, where Butler puts the drugs on a scale.

    In the video Butler refers to money as salad. Her refers to meth as a burrito (because it is wrapped in foil).

    The informant used a tiny camera to video tape the transaction. The incident happened Feb. 15, 2011. Both men were arrested the following morning.

    "I tried to get the two shot with both of them in it also I wanted to make sure there was no doubt what was going on," informant Carl Marino said.

    Marino said he feared for his life.

    "I'd never videotaped him and I'm using equipment he's familiar with it's from his department and if he realizes I'm doing that I know it's not going to be good for me," Marino said.

    The case has made headlines ever since.

    Former officers Louis Lombardi and Stephen Tanabe, along with Wielsch and Butler all face criminal charges in connected to the corruption case that included charges of stealing drug evidence, money, weapons and cash while on the job.

    Earlier this year Lombardi, a former San Ramon police officer, pleaded guilty to nine criminal counts that could put him behind bars for more than 60 years. He also agreed to testify against the other three.